Scientists have discovered a new state of matter with chiral properties

Researchers have identified a new quantum state of matter with chiral currents, which could lead to a revolution in quantum electronics and technologies. This achievement, confirmed by direct observation using the Italian Elettra synchrotron, holds broad applications in sensors, biomedicine, and renewable energy. Credit:

An international research group has identified a new state of matter, characterized by the presence of a quantum phenomenon known as chiral current.

These currents are generated on the atomic scale by cooperative motion of electrons, unlike conventional magnetic materials whose properties arise from a quantum property of the electron known as spin and their arrangement in the crystal.

The importance of Chirality

Decentralization is a property of great importance in science, for example, and it is also necessary to understand it DNA. In the discovered quantum phenomenon, the chirality of the currents was revealed by studying the interaction between light and matter, where appropriate currents were polarized Photon An electron can be emitted from the surface of a material with a well-defined spin state.

The discovery was published in naturesignificantly enriches our knowledge of quantum materials, the search for chiral quantum phases, and phenomena occurring on the surface of materials.

Potential applications and implications

“The discovery of the existence of these quantum states may pave the way for the development of a new type of electronics that uses chiral currents as information carriers instead of the charge of an electron,” explains Federico Mazzola, a researcher in condensed matter physics at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and head of the research team. These phenomena have an important impact on future applications based on new chiral optoelectronic devices, and a major impact in the field of quantum technologies for new sensors, as well as in the fields of biomedicine and renewable energy.

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Discovery and verification

Born from a theoretical prediction, this study has directly proven for the first time the existence of this quantum state, which until now has remained mysterious and elusive, thanks to the use of the Italian synchrotron Elettra. Until now, knowledge about the existence of this phenomenon has actually been limited to theoretical predictions for certain materials. Their observation on the surfaces of solid materials makes them very interesting for the development of new ultra-thin electronic devices.

The research group, which includes national and international partners including Ca' Foscari University of Venice, the SPIN Institute, the CNR Materials Officina Institute, and the University of Salerno, investigated the phenomenon of a material already known to the scientific community for its electronic properties. For applications in superconducting spin electronics, but the new discovery has a broader scope, being more general and applicable to a wide range of quantum materials.

These materials are revolutionizing quantum physics and the current development of new technologies, with properties far beyond those described by classical physics.

Reference: “Signatures of surface orbital helical mineralization” by Federico Mazzola, Wojciech Brzeski, Maria Teresa Mercaldo, Anita Guarino, Chiara Beggi, and Jill A. Miwa, Domenico Di Fazio, Alberto Cribaldi, John Fujii, Giorgio Rossi, and Pasquale Orgiani. Sandeep Kumar Chaluvadi, Shini Ponnathum Shaleel, Giancarlo Panaccioni, Anupam Jana, Vincent Poliuzic, Ivana Vobornik, Changyoung Kim, Fabio Milito-Granozio, Rosalba Fittipaldi, Carmine Ortex, Mario Cocco and Antonio Vecchione, February 7, 2024, nature.
doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07033-8

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